Vice President Yemi Osinbajo has raised the alarm over international conspiracy to stifle development of gas projects in Africa by the developed world.
Speaking yesterday during a virtual conference themed: ‘Climate, Conflict, and Demography in Africa, jointly hosted by the International Crisis Group, the Royal African Society, and African Confidential publications, Osinbajo stressed that most of the world’s investment into clean energy should be coming to Africa.
He said: “Much of the global investment in clean energy will need to go into Africa. However, instead of prioritizing efforts to redirect global capital to our nations, efforts are currently underway to limit the development of gas projects in Africa, violating the principles of equity and justice, enshrined in global agreements”.
Osinbajo explained the necessity of gas in developing nations, “because the role of gas as a bridge fuel, to increase the share of renewable energy in the energy mix, and rapidly transition away from firewood-based cooking fuel to natural gas-based cooking, yields both environmental and health benefits.
He emphasized that despite Africa’s contribution to climate change being negligible, “we continue to be the most adversely impacted by climate change, so much so that public resources that could help modernize the energy mix has to be redirected towards adaptation spending.
“But worse, we are being compelled to make disproportionately huge sacrifices as the wealthier countries continue full speed on defunding gas projects and insisting that gas projects must be defunded as an important component of the drive towards net-zero emissions by 2030.”
Commenting on the amount of investments required in clean electricity – generation and grid storage infrastructure, Osinbajo stated that to get the world on track for net-zero emissions by 2050, it will cost more than US$1.6 trillion per year by 2030. “This is over four times more than what was invested in these sectors in 2020. In regions like Africa, installed electricity capacity will need to double by 2030 and increase at least five-fold by 2050,” he said.
Giving reasons for his argument against defunding gas projects, the Vice President said, “our first obligation will always be to ensure the wellbeing of our people, through access to development services including electricity, healthcare, education, safe jobs, and a safe environment, including access to clean cooking fuels.
“We must prioritize solutions that align with development and climate agendas, this is absolutely important. The global climate conversation can only be equitable and inclusive by putting all people in all geographies at the heart of the endeavor to save the planet.”